The thoughtful and intelligent FourFourTwo.com has produced a top feature on the strengths and weaknesses of every Premier League team this season.
And it’s very difficult to argue with their assessment of the Hammers as we look to climb into a top eight or ten spot after a busy summer whilst allowing for more inward and outward movement.
By the nature of such pieces it is impossible to cover every area but writer Sen Stafford-Bloor has pinpointed some strong points on both sides of the fence in his look at the Irons.
Here’s what he sees the summer window as having meant to the club and fans thus far.
A growing maturity, seemingly. The difference in West Ham from a year ago is dramatic: there has been no shouting on social media, no look-at-us transfer culture and, a few errant tweets aside, very little negative PR.
In its place has risen a calm, strategic approach to the transfer market which has systematically allowed the curing of long-standing weaknesses.
A new goalscorer, a much better goalkeeper, plus two strong Premier League performers in Marko Arnautovic and Pablo Zabaleta. For once, West Ham’s strength has been their recruitment.
It’s an unfair point, because clubs can’t be expected to tackle every issue they have inside a single window, but the lack of depth is still a concern.
An injury to Cheikh Kouyate (he’s talking long term I believe) would cause significant issues in midfield, for instance, as would the absence of Winston Reid in defence.
There’s a month of window left, so maybe West Ham are still pursuing players, but the peril of having a thin squad is an annual problem in the East End and staff shortages could well undermine another season if they’re unlucky.
His point on Kouyate is well made as Cheik’s running and high energy approach has always been one of the unsung strengths of the team.
When we rely on such as Mark Noble to do that job we are nothing like as effective at getting up and back and let’s hope – because with the availability of James Collins and now Declan Rice – there is no plan to play Cheik at the back except in the most extreme cases.
We are surprised the writer hasn’t included the fierce commitment of Michail Antonio or the growing influence of Manu Lanzini but in essence, given the word count he was given, we reckon he’s got it spot on